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In 1864 politician John Gorst wrote: "Every country has some staple manufacture, and there can be no doubt that laws are the staple manufacture of New Zealand."
And so New Zealanders ended up with a welter of rules, regulations, edicts, recommendations and advisories, including: Never work on the land or in the woods on a Sunday. Never eat fish with a steel knife. Never abuse the bath by bathing too long. Never play the National Anthem at less than M. M. 60 crotchets.
This lively romp through the regulatory arcana of our past shows our social history in a fresh new light, From the stern instructions to the Rev Henry Williams from the Church Missionary Society on the eve of his departure for New Zealand in 1822 to Ettie Rout's advice to troops posted abroad on avoiding venereal disease, from the best technique for raising poultry to the rules of the Antediluvian Society of the Order of Buffaloes, New Zealanders have lived by some unusual and quaint imprecations.
If some contemporary readers think we labour under an oppressive bureaucracy, Instructions from New Zealanders, gathered by leading historian Richard Wolfe, shows just how enthusiastic authority figures have always been to keep us on the straight and narrow.
When I first moved to New Zealand, I could have done with some explanation as to how some aspects of life were conducted here. When I finally got residency some two years later, I was presented with an 'instruction' book, which amongst many things contained the sort of information that would have been useless at the time anyway. "How to greet a New Zealander" was an example I remember very well. It still didn't answer the questions I still had bubbling within me but did give me a number of hours of amusement.
So, with those eyes, I approached Instructions for New Zealanders, a humorous introductions into what must now look like absurd rules and regulations that once governed our daily life. From what to pack when going on a trip, to what would bar one from marriage, to the amount of eggs a hen should lay and many, many more examples.
This book is a light-hearted look at the rules and regulations (and suggestions) that have governed our nation since its founding. All examples are genuine, and the author has listed the source of the articles.
This book will entertain, amuse and enlighten every reader and gives a fascinating insight into the evolution of the social history of New Zealand.
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